Germans can save the day States battle for Defence contracts
QUEENSLAND’S best chancee of securing a multi- billion- dollar war machine contract and recalibrating the state’s economy rests with the Germans.
The “Team Queensland” group of 26 Federal Coalition MPs is urging two multinational companies in the running for a Defence Department contract to base their operations in Queensland, as reported by the Townsville Bulletin yesterday ( inset).
The fight for jobs, more training and cash for the local economy is between Queensland and Victoria.
But it is understood German company Rheinmetall Defence Australia is more open to build the 225 tanks in Queensland than BAE Systems Australia, a British firm.
While both companies have been coy about which state they will choose, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she w was gunning fo for the $ 5 billi lion windfall.
“My Gover ernment is abs o l u t e l y de determined to se secure the Defe fence contract f for Q Queensland,’’ she said.
“My Government is fighting hard … It’s down to Victoria and Queensland, and … I’m putting my money on Queensland. I am very, very optimistic.”
Ms Palaszczuk said State Development Minister Anthony Lynham had flown to Germany in May to meet with the company.
“When we found out we were short- listed, I said to him, ‘ you get over to Germany as quickly as possible’. We have been front and centre of this,” she said. “This Defence contract is advanced manufacturing for Queensland.
“It means hundreds of armoured vehicles to be made and maintained here in this state.
“It is my Government that is pursuing this rigorously and fighting tooth and nail to get the jobs for advanced manufacturing here in this state. It’s heartening to see that we’ve got Coalition MPs now saying that, ‘ yes we’re going to back this defence contract’.”
Federal MPs yesterday questioned why Ms Palaszczuk was being so partisan on an issue that would help the state.
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said Fairfax MP Ted O’Brien had been working with the companies for months and slammed the Premier for trying to score political points.
“She should be building a monument for Ted O’Brien instead of trying to ride on his coat tails,’’ Mr Entsch said.
But Fadden MP Stuart Robert said the State Government deserved some dues.
“The Queensland Government has actually done very well of late and have negotiated solidly with the two players,’’ he said.
PUT TO TEST: Lieutenant Rebecca Avila on HMAS Canberra and ( inset) Colonel Malcolm Wells, Captain Brett Sonter and Captain Ashley Papp.